The Oresteia: "Euminides."

Essay by gorak156College, UndergraduateA-, October 2005

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Are the gods in control of their own destinies?

There are many quotes relating to this topic in The Eumenides, but I found one that particularly sparked this question for me: "But I shall give the suppliant help and rescue, for/if I willingly fail him who turns to me for aid,/his wrath, before gods and men, is fearful thing." Lines 232-234

In this quotation spoken by the god of prophecy, Apollo, he admits that he is in some way forced to protect Orestes just as the Chorus of Furies is in some way forced to hunt him as well as all other who commit matricide (or any other type of murder involving blood relatives). I cannot be sure if these are the roles that they chose for themselves or if some 'pre-destiny' has already been established for them at the beginning of existence, in the time of Uranus, or before that even.

Apollo pretty much states that his existence is to protect and assist humans such as Orestes as if it were his eternal fate. Unlike the Furies, he shows no real personal preference about his "fate" which intertwines with humans; to me, he goes about assisting Orestes as if it were a job which he merely feels obligated to carry out. He feels no real personal connection with his defendant, Orestes. He does however, I believe, have a zeal for this case because of the archaic and even vile and twisted punishments that are dealt out by some the most ancient god(desse)s, the Furies. They are obstinate in their belief in the old laws, one of which looks upon matricide as one the worst crimes committable. They still live in the 'old times' and old laws of the time before Zeus and do not understand why they...